SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Finance and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority have proposed law amendments to lessen the regulatory burden on businesses.
Changes to the Companies Act and Limited Liability Partnerships Act were proposed on Tuesday (Dec 27) to simplify the requirements to hold annual general meetings and file annual returns.
"Listed companies and non-listed companies should hold their AGMs no later than the last day of the fourth month or sixth month after financial year end, respectively," an official statement by the MOF and the Acra said.
Furthermore, all private companies will be exempted from holding AGMs, subject to specific safeguards. The legal requirement for companies and limited liability partnerships to use common seals will also be removed.
These proposed amendments have been tabled for a public consultation, beginning on Tuesday and ending on Jan 13, 2017. They follow an earlier round of Companies Act public consultation in October.
Alongside the proposals to improve the ease of business, other changes are looked at to improve business sector transparency.
These include a requirement for non-listed, non-financial institution companies and LLPs incorporated or registered in Singapore to maintain registers of beneficial owners at prescribed places, such as the company's registered office.
Liquidator will be asked to retain records of wound up companies and LLPs for five years instead of two, while the options to destroy early if companies and LLPs are wound up will be removed.
Meanwhile, the Accountants Act will be amended to clarify that a breach of the Ethics Pronouncement 200 - which sets out mandatory requirements against money laundering and terrorism financing - will be grounds for disciplinary action.
"(These changes) will boost Singapore's ongoing efforts to maintain our high corporate governance standards and strong reputation as a trusted and clean financial hub," the MOF and the Acra noted.